The Program in the Ancient World · Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544

About the Program

The Program in the Ancient World enables doctoral candidates with wide-ranging interests in the ancient world (ancient Mediterranean and Near East) to extend their studies beyond departmental lines and pursue work in the languages, history, art, archaeology, and the religions of antiquity. Four departments provide the majority of offerings relevant to students in the program: Art and Archaeology, Classics, History, and Religion; additional guidance and instruction are available from the Departments of Anthropology and Near Eastern Studies.


Students should apply to the department that coincides best with their backgrounds and their prospective areas of specialization, and they should indicate an interest in the interdepartmental program at the time of their application to that department. The requirements for the individual departments appear in the pertinent sections of the catalog.

Course of Study

Program students are expected to fulfill the requirements of the home department, but their course of study is modified to allow for interdisciplinary work through classes, examinations, and guidance by faculty in several departments.

Language Requirements

Applicants should possess a strong background in at least one ancient and one modern language. Prior to the general examinations all students will have demonstrated proficiency in two appropriate ancient languages and two appropriate modern languages, to be determined in consultation with the student's advisor.

Program Seminar

Program students usually take the Program Seminar in the first year of study. Offered each year, the seminar is normally a team-taught class sponsored by two of the cooperating departments. Specific topics vary, but each Program Seminar has significant interdisciplinary and comparative dimensions emphasizing the methodologies and techniques of the fields involved. Students must also take two additional seminars outside their home departments and are strongly encouraged to continue seminar work after completing their general examinations.

Material Culture Requirement

Every member of the program should acquire experience in the interpretation of non-written, material evidence from antiquity. This is normally done through participation in field archaeology, but may be accomplished through a variety of alternatives. Students are also urged to participate in the program's extensive series of lectures, colloquia, and informal discussions.


Fellowships are normally awarded by the participating department. A small amount of summer funding is available to supplement university funds especially for language instruction, participation on archaeological excavations or other work on material culture, and dissertation research.

Graduate students interested in applying for summer funding must complete the application form found under the Graduate School web page.

Course 503: Program Seminar

An interdisciplinary seminar, taught either in the fall or spring term, addressing a variety of topics relevant to the ancient world and emphasizing the techniques and methodologies of the fields involved. Past seminars have included History and Art in the Age of Augustus, Introduction to the Study of Judaism in Late Antiquity, Transformation of Reality in Late Classical Greek Art, The World of Learning in Late Antiquity, and Roman Historical Reliefs. The Program Seminar has recently been part of the Princeton-Oxford Exchange Program. As such the subject is chosen by the steering committee of the Exchange Program (2014-15: "Politics and Religion"). Parallel seminars at each institution meet each year in early January for three days alternating between the two institutions. The students deliver papers and lead discussion of the topic with minimal faculty participation.